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A " redshirt " is a stock character in fiction who dies soon after being introduced. The term originates from the original Star Trek ( NBC , 1966–69) television series in which the red-shirted security personnel frequently die during episodes.  Redshirt deaths are often used to dramatize the potential peril that the main characters face.
In other media, the term "redshirt" and images of characters wearing red shirts represent characters destined for suffering or death.